About the girl who just wants to breathe

Fact: The girl in the photo below is very happy.

558621 10151001402351746 1982556082 n About the girl who just wants to breathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another fact: She’s happy here too. Weird feather earrings and all.

Screen shot 2012 09 11 at 4.22.53 PM About the girl who just wants to breathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And even though this photo is a bit out of date, she’s incredibly happy here too.

Screen shot 2012 09 11 at 4.33.40 PM About the girl who just wants to breathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But what you can’t tell for any of these photos, is that this girl suffers from unexplained anxiety, depression, and sometimes even anger. It’s not a new things, she’s been this way for years.

That many days she literally cannot physically take a deep breath, because her body is too tense and her chest too tight. That even the slightest amount of discourse will send her in a downward tailspin that will within seconds find her with the covers pulled over her head.

And that for every hard day, she’ll have an equally rough night. Insomnia and anxiety attack her at night, often with innocent lyrics to songs that repeat in her brain like a broken record. It sounds like a really silly thing to “suffer” from, but be assured, it’s extremely not funny at all. In fact, nothing is really funny at 3am.

But if there’s one good thing about the girl, it’s that she’s smart enough to know that her behavior and feelings aren’t normal. And she’s present enough to know it isn’t fair to her husband and children to live a life with a wife and mother who cannot “deal”.

Her family is awesome, and they deserve more. She’s taking baby step to find stability.

Small, tiny, barefoot steps.

And like a baby learning to walk, she’ll fall on her (thankfully padded) butt, hit her head on the corner of the coffee table, and oftentimes just prefer to be carried by those stronger than her.

It’s ok, because it’s part of the process, right?

Bear with her, give her grace she doesn’t deserve. She’s mostly a mess.

But at least she knows she’s a mess, so there’s that.

*photo credits:mooshinindy.

 

And then someone hands you a baby.

I could always see myself with two kids. And looking back at those days when it was just the four of us, taking care of two kids really was a piece of cake. No, a whole sheet cake.

Then we decided to have another.

People told me going from two kids to three kids would be easy. That you would just change your strategy from man-to-man defense to zone.

In hindsight, going from two kids to three kids kicked my trash. Being outnumbered is difficult, but in time found a groove that worked for us.

And because I’m a super organized awesome planner, I decided four kids under the age of seven would be a fantastic idea.

Again, there were those people that said: “Well if you can do three kids, you totally can do four kids, you won’t even notice the difference”.

Those people were wrong too. It’s not as easy breezy as it sounds. Four children is a lot of work.

The only person I’ve ever heard it said remotely accurately is my favorite comedian Jim Gaffigan. In my mind, Michael and I are best friends with Jim and his wife Jeannie. Yes, I refer to them as Jim and Jeannie, like they live down the street from us or something.

He has four kids (two girls, two boys) and summed it up perfectly:

“Want to know what it’s like to have four kids? Imagine you’re drowning, and then someone hands you a baby.”

Yup, pretty much nailed it on the head.

7176155443 cd56b83308 And then someone hands you a baby.

Most days I’m underwater. On the days I’m not gasping for air, I’m running a marathon in the middle of the desert without a water bottle.

I feel crazy. But not alone in my crazy. I have a fantastic partner, and while he’s a good 10 inches taller than me, he’s often drowning too. Everyday, when he walks through the front door after an exhausting day of work, I hand him a baby, toddler, or out of control preschooler.

6970829928 67a1784ee2 And then someone hands you a baby.

My kids are lucky to have him, and so am I. He manages our bunch of chimps so much better than I’ll ever be able to.

Yesterday I took the girls shopping to pick out Father’s Day gifts. I told each of them they could pick out whatever they want, I and wasn’t going to help them or give them any suggestions. I wanted them to think about their dad, and pick out something that they thought he would like.

It was so cute to watch them shop, hearing them discuss Michael and deciding exactly what would make him smile.

Nola *almost* bought him a deluxe Littlest Pet Shop activity pack, and he narrowly escaped getting new set  “princess” floor mats for his car from Piper.

But what they ended up deciding on is perfect. Each gift really tells a story about his relationship with each of them. We’re also making him some art for his new office space at work, and will be serving up breakfast in bed Sunday morning before we head to church.

Having a large family with four little kids is hard. So hard.

Raising them with Michael is the only way I would ever even consider attempting it.

(now hopefully he doesn’t read this blog post until after Sunday. The girls will kill me if I ruin their surprise…)

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I’m super excited to be partnering with Hallmark this year for its “Life Is A Special Occasion” campaign. It’s truly my honor to be able to tell you stories about my everyday special moments. Sharing my stories and having them sponsored by Hallmark is a dream come true. Please consider signing up for Hallmarks e-newsletter, where you’ll receive discounts, special offers, and other fun stuff.


LIASO HOR PMS267 And then someone hands you a baby.

Whining and winning.

Oh hai. How ya doing?

Me? Oh, I’m good. Mostly busy getting through the day. Rushing towards the end of the week, just so I can start the hustle and shuffle again on Monday morning.

What do I do all day? Um, really awesome stuff I’m sure you’re completely jealous of.

This past week was a weird one. It started with the beginning of The End of the Month, which is always a busy time for me, because I’m a lovely procrastinator.

This is Paul. He’s my #1 coworker. You’re really missing out if you’ve never had a coworker who constantly insists  you show him your boobies, then immediately craps himself and expects you to clean it up.

7309285084 1d8d545d85 Whining and winning.

And then Friday night happened. I surprisingly ended up falling asleep to one of the best views of the city, from the*almost*  top floor of the fanciest building in the city.

7316494332 69b1008f45 Whining and winning.

Funny how life can be amazing and unexpected.

7329100724 0247ffcf63 Whining and winning.

The much needed time of rest and renewal ended too quickly, but in hindsight was probably the perfect amount of time to be gone (only 17 hours) from my little nuggets.

Just a few hours ago this happened:

7330374462 0850e2f880 Whining and winning.

I don’t even care. It’s just a little green marker. I’m thinking of giving Gage more free-range nap time tomorrow with a fresh pack of permanent markers. Add a little red, turquoise, some purple. Maybe even throw in some glitter glue for good measure. I mean, people pay good money for modern art these days. Am I right?

Oh, and now a few minutes ago I narrowly missed stepping in a pile of fresh neon colored vomit outside my bedroom door. I’m winning.

Also, my right eyelid is itchy and swollen, and I don’t know why. Ok, now I’m just whining.

 

What happens in 2nd grade circa 1986, doesn’t always stay in 1986…

I typically tell people I meet that Michael and I met first semester of our sophomore year at Michigan State. But the truth is, we met much (much) earlier than the summer of 1998.

It’s no secret that I have a really bad memory. In fact, one of the primary reasons I started to blog was so I would have a place to write down and document my families life as it was happening. My memory is so bad, I barely remember a thing from grade school.

I mean, I remember a few things, but not much. I remember my favorite hot lunches were chili & cinnamon roll on Wednesday, and stale cardboard pizza slice every other Friday. I remember my bus driver’s name was Winni was possibly the largest lady I’d ever seen to date. Sitting in the back of her bus is where I learn what a tampon was. thanks to a mature 5th grader and a Teen Magazine. I remember the time my younger sister threw up a banana on the playground, and the time a girl named Heather peed on me during recess.

Other than that, most of grades k-5 are a complete loss, except for one event and one favorite second grade teacher.

Her name was Ms. O. (because her real last name was impossibly Dutch, meaning impossible to pronounce, so we all just called her Ms. O. ) She was the kindest, most caring teacher I ever had. She had Farrah Fawcett hair, and was really tall.

Half way through the year, Ms. O became Mrs. B., when she finally cashed in her “old maid” status and got married to a skinny man with a mustache.

The best part of that school year came when she invited the  whole class to attend her wedding. It was the first wedding I ever attended, and it was just as magical as I imagined it. I wore a white frilly dress that probably upstaged the bride, and attended a cake reception in the basement of a musty smelling church that was held especially for our second grade class. Mr. & Mrs. B even fed each other wedding cake and I even saw them kiss. Yes, it was just as magical as dreamed it would be.

Another thing happened in second grade. I met a boy named Michael. Michael came from a big family and his mom was the school’s secretary.

Michael and I’s last names sat close together in the alphabet, so by default we often sat next to each other in class.

second grade What happens in 2nd grade circa 1986, doesnt always stay in 1986...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Michael and I would for the most part go in separate directions after 2nd grade, we would again meet up during the Summer of 1998 on the campus of Michigan State University.

spartans 1024x768 What happens in 2nd grade circa 1986, doesnt always stay in 1986...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our casual campus run-in would quickly evolve from “Hey, don’t I know you?” to “I think we were in the same 2nd grade class together” to “Will you marry me?”.

A week from today, Michael and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. One decade and four children later, I’m still madly in love with that skinny dark haired kid I met in my second grade class.

SCAN0039 What happens in 2nd grade circa 1986, doesnt always stay in 1986...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I think about Ms. B. I wonder how it all turned out for her. Did she have children of her own with the mustache man? Is she still happily married, and teaching second grade?

I suppose if I wanted, I could probably dig around and figure out whatever happened to Mrs. B. But in my mind, she’s lived happily ever after, and I think that’s the way I want to remember her story.

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I’m super excited to be partnering with Hallmark this year for its “Life Is A Special Occasion” campaign. It’s truly my honor to be able to tell you stories about my everyday special moments. Sharing my stories and having them sponsored by Hallmark is a dream come true. Please consider signing up for Hallmarks e-newsletter, where you’ll receive discounts, special offers, and other fun stuff.


LIASO HOR PMS267 What happens in 2nd grade circa 1986, doesnt always stay in 1986...

10 years in 3 months

On the eve of my wedding, if I would have speculated how my life would look in 10 years, it would be pretty spot on.

4 kids, good jobs, a loving spouse, a cozy little home and beautiful friends to fill it with. Yes, that’s what I dreamed about.

In just three months, Michael and I will be married a whole decade already. And most of our dreams have come true.

IMG 3306 10 years in 3 months

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh from the chapel, and so very young.

We’ve always said, that for our 10 year anniversary, we would take a spectacular trip. Making a marriage work is hard, and I think hitting milestones like 10 years should be handsomely rewarded.

Being an interior designer and lover of architecture (and red wine), I’ve always had my heart set on going to Italy for a couple week.

It will be 10 years in 3 months. I’ll be nursing a 4 month old, so my Rome and red wine will have to wait. Postponed, but not abandoned.

A romantic trip to Italy with my husband (and baby) isn’t exactly what I had in mind. (although we did take Nola to Hawaii when she was 3 months old.)

So instead of Italy, we need other ideas. Even though life has “gotten in the way”, I still want to celebrate somehow.

I’m coming to the blog for suggestions. I’m looking at a long weekend, end of May, with Michael and baby Paul. What do you think we should do?

And no, I don’t want to crash on your basement pullout sofa.

I said I wanted a beer

Last week was a doozy.  It was the kind of a week that leaves you feeling like you’ve been mugged in the alley and left to die.

4 out of the 5 of us had the stomach flu.

Gage was (and still is) teething, and it’s not going well. He’s being such a baby about it.

At one point, I suspected that Gage had chickenpox’s, but he didn’t.  I now currently suspect Gage might have an earache.

I suspected that PK had lice, but then realized she just needed a bath.

And to top it all off, I got a visitor from a lady friend that I havn’t seen in over 18 months.  She’s still here, overstaying her welcome.  Know what I’m talkin’ about ladies? UGH.

Too much stuff, particularly bodily fluids, in one week.

So yesterday, around 4:30 pm, I called Michael. I was worn out, and told him I wouldn’t hate it if he brought home a six pack.  I wanted a beer in the worst way.

An hour later, this showed up with my husband.  If you’ve never seen one before, it’s a plastic keg thing of All-American lager.5033281494 31d88470bc I said I wanted a beer Um, I said I wanted a beer, not 1.5 gallons of beer.  I had in mind something to compliment a dinner of broiled tilapia, salad and zucchini bread.

Now, I got this monster in my fridge.  Sandwiched right next to the applesauce, right above my eggs.  So very classy.5033283366 630edbbb1a I said I wanted a beer So apparently, it’s only Tuesday, but I’m ready to throw a frat party.  I got the plastic cups, lots of sharpie markers, and cold foamy beer. 5033261314 999c213728 I said I wanted a beer I’m charging $2 a cup, and I’ll even let you crash in my bathtub if the night gets away from you.  But please, don’t steal the knobs off my stove, that’s so annoying.